Arata: the Legend

Plot: Arata is a boy born to the Hime clan. Hime women traditionally become the rulers of the land of Amawakuni. However, since there are no girls to succeed the current princess, Kikuri, Arata poses as a girl and goes to the appointment ceremony. There, he sees the princess nearly killed -- and is framed for her assassination. He escapes into the mysterious Kando forest; however, he gets swallowed up and sent to modern-day Japan...

Arata Hinohara is ready to start high school with a clean slate; but there's one problem: it seems he can't escape the bullying he faced in middle school from his ex-friend, Kadowaki. When Arata's new friend, Suguru, sides with Kadowaki and betrays him, Arata runs away. Suddenly, he finds himself in Amawakuni. Strangely, he is mistaken for the other Arata and taken in by a (pretty) girl named Kotoha and the other Arata's grandmother. When a man named Kannagi barges in and confronts him, Arata activates a special sword called a hayagami, thus becoming its wielder, or "sho". But Kannagi puts Arata under arrest for attempting to murder their princess -- a crime he didn't even commit! (A)

Characters: A-

Art & Animation: A

Voice Acting: Good cast choices thus far! (A)

Music: Sometimes a little overbearing (B+)

Objectionable Content: Blood, suggestive themes/nudity, profanity

Other: The plot and the world will suck you right in. The characters, both major and minor, are interesting, too.

The anime is too rushed and bypasses character development to incorporate elements from later in the books into the mix prematurely.

Overall Score: Manga -- A- / Anime -- B- (A bit disappointing)

Recommendation: 3.5/5

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